Natsume Soseki

Aside from being a modern haiku master, Natsume Soseki has also been a famous Japanese novelist of the Meiji Era (1868-1912).  Some of his famous novels include Botchan, I Am a Cat, and Kokoro. One will find the portrait of Natsume Soseki in the front of the 1000 yen not in Japan.

Soseki was born in the Edo region of present day Kikui, Shinjuku and was an unwanted son.  His parents gave Soseki to a servant and his wife who raised him until he was nine years old.  Soseki left his adopted parents and went back to his biological family. Everyone but his father welcomed Soseki home.  When Soseki turned fourteen, his mother passed away along with two of his brothers.

Ever since Middle School, Soseki knew he was destined to be a writer.  However, his family did not approve of this decision and encouraged him to become an architect.  While studying architecture at the Tokyo Imperial University during 1884, Soseki also studied English.  Three years later, Soseki was acquainted with Masaoka Shiki who was the master of modern haiku at the time.  Soseki and Shiki became close friends and their relationship nurtured Soseki’s career as a writer.  It was under Shiki that Soseki learned how to compose haiku.  He wrote many haiku during his lifetime and published them in newspapers and periodicals.

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